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Fab Four creating connection in their cul-de-sac
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"One lady’s face will stay with me forever.  To see the smile on her face, I’d do it 20 more times - it was amazing! Everyone said how lovely it was and what a real treat”

A tiny team with a big impact - bringing neighbours together as a connected community so that no-one has to feel alone. This is a fantastic example of finding ways to reach IN to your community - recognising that it can be difficult for those who are feeling lonely or isolated to reach out.

Angie, Val, Edna, and Jayne created the Pine View Friends and Family Group with the aim of bringing their neighbours together as a connected community who never feel alone. 

 

“Although the four of us have each other, round here there are a lot of new residents, those who live on their own, or even couples, who are elderly or have mental or physical health conditions.  Most are not getting out and seeing anyone.  We wanted to help our small community to get to know each other so they know they are never alone.”

 

The four volunteers had an idea to organise an outdoor afternoon tea event for residents and their families living in the 50 bungalows that make up Pine View.  After seeing the possibility of receiving funding and support from The Feeling Connected Project, they got creative and thoughtfully considered how to include their neighbours who might find it difficult to join in because they may be feeling apprehensive, suffer from anxiety or have a physical health condition.

 

“It’s hard for someone in that position.  We needed to go to them rather than them come to us. So we decided to use the funding to put together a little bag for everyone and on the hottest day on earth we physically knocked on doors so people could see a friendly face and we introduced ourselves.

 

By taking them something, they could see we’re friendly, not stuffy or anything.  We’re hoping it will bring them to us another time.  And that if we do drop an invite or something through their door, they will know who it’s come from.  They’ve now had that contact and seen a friendly face.”

 

It really is an inspiring example of how a tiny team of neighbours can reach IN, rather than waiting for those who may be feeling lonely or isolated to reach out.  The whole experience left Angie with a real sense of having made a difference and that led her feeling more connected to her neighbours too.

 

“Preparing everything, bagging 50 bags up in that heatwave and taking them round wasn’t easy, but there was one lady’s face that will stay with me forever.  To see the smile on her face, I’d do it 20 more times - it was amazing! Everyone said how lovely it was and what a real treat”

 

“I like to think what we do gives people round here a sense of belonging; in turn that gives me a sense of belonging and that there’s always someone there if I need them and vice versa.  No-one is just stuck in a bungalow with no-one there for them. Now people come to us or wave to us, which they never did before.”

 

Feeling Connected made it easy to apply for the initial funding for this tiny team of neighbours, and others like them, who want to be part of the solution to loneliness and isolation where they live.

 

"We were amazed at how easy it was to apply for the funding.  We thought we wouldn’t be eligible or everything would be complicated.  I was offered help with the application form but I didn’t need it – it really was easy peasy!"

 

After the success of the outdoor afternoon tea event, Feeling Connected are delighted to help Angie, Val, Edna and Jayne continue their community-building journey. 

 

The funding removes a financial barrier to people being able to both create and participate in neighbourhood activities and events.  We are delighted to be able to support with further funding for a Christmas party in their local community space, St Barnabas Community Centre, complete with festive food, gifts and fun games.

 

In addition to funding, other free services from The Feeling Connected Project have played a pivotal role in supporting this group’s local efforts to build a thriving, connected neighbourhood.

 

For example, as a result of the individual advice provided by the Feeling Connected Project Team and information shared between another organiser from within the Feeling Connected Family*, they’ve been able to open a bank account, making it easier for them to manage the group’s money – a process which can be daunting for informal groups that aren’t yet constituted, or don’t want to be.

(*a network of community builders and supporters from across Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire)

 

The Pine View volunteer organisers are also looking forward to more opportunities to learn and build relationships through the Feeling Connected workshops and social events.  In Angie’s words regarding the support from Feeling Connected

 

“I’m absolutely blown away with it.  We couldn’t believe it.  Amazing support. There’s nothing they could do better - friendly staff, knowledgeable and helpful.  Always respond and they listen as well”

 

Making it easier for individuals or tiny teams of neighbours, like Angie Enda, Val and Jayne, is what The Feeling Connected Project is all about.  It doesn’t have to mean endless form filling and red tape or waiting months for decisions.

 

The support is tailored specifically for informal volunteer organisers.  Combined with their ideas, passion and commitment, it really can help foster a sense of belonging, nurture neighbourhoods and combat the hidden impact of loneliness and isolation so many people experience in our communities.

If you would like to do something similar in your neighbourhood and want to find out more about funding and all the other support we offer click here> 

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